There’s nothing quite like a quality pair of loafers and what they can add to a man’s wardrobe. The loafer is versatile enough to be worn in a variety of settings and occasions, but also more comfortable than a lot of other footwear.
BEFORE YOU BUY: 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING LOAFERS
One thing you won’t have to worry about when buying loafers is having enough choices. From style, to the material, to color, to brand name – you shouldn’t have much problem finding a loafer that suits you, fits your foot, and is appropriate for the occasion.
There’s a reason we list fit first among things you should consider when purchasing loafers. The fit is everything, no matter what type of shoe you buy, and wearing a loafer that’s the wrong size – even just slightly the wrong size – isn’t going to make you or your feet happy.
Some important factors to consider when finding the right fit include having your feet sized by a professional whenever possible. This obviously entails buying shoes from a retail outlet, but it’s something you should do every time you visit a shoe store.
In many cases, the size may vary between each of your feet. Also, the size of your feet can change as you get older, because they flatten over time because of a loss of elasticity in tendons and ligaments.
Here’s something else: a shoe’s fit often varies by the time of day; a person’s feet naturally swell throughout the day and a shoe that fits snug in the morning may fit too tightly in the evening. That said, it’s best to try on shoes in the late afternoon or early evening when you’ll get a more “true” fit.
A shoe’s fit often varies from brand to brand, as well. For instance, a size 8 penny loafer from one manufacturer may fit entirely different than a size 8 constructed by another company.
You may or may not wear socks with your loafers (or you may choose to do both) and whatever option you choose affects the fit. If you do plan to wear socks, bring a pair with you for trying on shoes.
Buying shoes online can be something of a gamble for getting the right fit, but knowing the true measurement of your feet, consulting the size guide often included on a product’s web page, and reading the reviews of others will help alleviate much of the guesswork.
Consider the occasions in which you’ll wear your loafers – what’s their function? Are you going to wear a suit? Will you wear them on a semi-casual date, or for a night of hanging out with friends? Many men also choose to wear loafers with shorts. We’ll talk more about pairing loafers with the proper clothes later on, but for now know that how you plan to wear them is an important consideration when buying loafers.
Most loafers come in leather or suede. Both types of material have their strengths and weaknesses and can affect your overall look. Leather loafers have a sleek, gleaming finish that works well with smarter looks (such as with a suit), while suede works best for spring and summer wear. Suede shoes tend to have more of a casual feel than leather loafers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them with more formal clothing.
Not to confuse, but suede is a type of leather. The difference is that suede comes from the underside of animal skin and regular leather from the outer side. Suede has a velvety, matte finish that’s softer than regular leather.
If you need a loafer for formal occasions, then check out those made from patent leather – a type of coated leather with a high-gloss finish.
Black and brown are the classic loafer colors but loafers cover a wide color palette. Navy is another color to consider, while burgundy is favorite of many wearers who like its versatility and how it brightens a wardrobe. Neutral colors, such as beige, help to complement a nice suntan.
Penny loafers, tasseled loafers, horsebit loafers – all are types of loafers you may buy. We’ll cover each type in a bit more detail later.
Let’s move on to our reviews of the best loafers for men in 2019.
“Upscale” is a word that gets tossed around a lot when describing Cole Haan’s line of footwear. Or, as the company itself puts it, Cole Haan “caters to the well-heeled.” So be it.
No matter how you attempt to describe Cole Haan’s line of shoes, including its men’s Howland Penny Loafer, it comes down to quality – and CH has a strong reputation for developing stylish, comfortable shoes that fit a variety of occasions.
Dockers built its reputation at the beginning of its now-iconic khaki pants, but many customers also choose Dockers for footwear. Dockers shoes lean toward the casual, including their Sinclair Leather Tassel Loafer Shoe – although the latter is ideal for enhancing your work wardrobe.
Whether its pants or shoes, however, Dockers is known for comfort and the Sinclair is no exception. It features a cushioned footbed and microsuede cover to provide the ultimate in comfort and softness throughout the day.
A shoe’s overall comfort includes how it fits. Seems obvious enough, but some wearers sacrifice fit in choosing a shoe they fall in love with and then regret the decision after a few days of pinched toes and walking around gingerly.
ECCO is all about the fit and offers its unique Freedom Fit to back it up. Unlike conventional shoes, which ECCO say restrict the way a person’s toes spread when walking, the Freedom Fit feature offers a roomy toebox while fitting more narrowly from heel to instep. In turn, your toes spread naturally to support your weight and to create a more comfortable walking experience.
As the folks at ECCO put it, you should get a comfortable fit from the first time you try on your new shoes after pulling them from the box – including with their highly-popular Classic Moc 2.0 Slip-On Loafer.
ECCO is unique in a lot of ways, including that it’s one of the few footwear manufacturers that has its own tanneries, and where it processes its hides and leathers. Their tanneries use highly-advanced processes and treatments, and use vegetable-tanned leather in various stages of the shoe construction, including in its exclusive inlay sole.
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